Hi, I am Monty, and this is my random 5 day trip to Delhi-Kalpa-Spiti-Chitkul-Delhi which was supposed to be a Spiti Trip but 5 days were not sufficient from a Delhi-Spiti-Delhi Solo trip, so I woke up next morning in Kalpa with nothing in my mind but peace.
Types of People in Kalpa:
There are three kinds of people you meet in Kalpa. Firstly, the Kinnauri locals with green caps and glorious demeanour who walk about the streets tall and proud as though they know it well that nature as bestowed the best of its bounty upon them. Secondly, the young and broke travelers who arrive here with 50-liter backpacks superstitiously convinced that the mountains are calling them and are secretly plotting to stay here forever. Thirdly, the Bengali families who are determined to outnumber the locals in the coming years by arriving here each day 14-seater tempo travelers for family holidays with unmatched enthusiasm.
Home of Best Apples in the World:
Kalpa was once the head office of Kinnaur District. If you are an apple lover, you are in the sweet spot my friend. Kalpa claims to produce the world’s best apples and most people earn their livelihood from apple farming. People in Kalpa follow both Hinduism and Buddhism together, they believe in both religions.
Kalpa looked some way similar to Sangla in terms of landscapes, but the snowcapped mountains seemed to come closer as if I could stretch my hands and touch them.
Kalpa comes under Reckong Peo, the headquarters of Kinnaur, but is most famous for its second-to-none view of the 21,300-feet Kinner Kailash peaks.
Kinner Kailash Trek Route
Treks are organized for Kinner Kailash every year from late May till October with base camp presence Tangling village.
The Shivling is a naturally formed rock structure and supposedly changes colors many times in a day. But without a binocular, it was almost impossible to differentiate the colors and the only colors i could see with naked eyes were white, saffron and greyish black.
I was fascinated by the name Chini Bungalow and while Thheku(Homestay owner) was sharing his grief about the newly raised building in front of his hotel that has partially blocked the view of the Narayan-Nagini Temple temple, While I found myself busy finding phonetic combinations to make sense of the word ‘Chini’!
How “Chini” Become “Kalpa”
A school came up in Chini in the year 1900 much before the other neighboring villages felt a need for it. Quite interestingly, independent India’s first voter, Shyam Saran Negi, also hails from this village.
Kalpa, which used to be called Chini till the early 1960s, because of its location on the old Indo-Tibetan trade route.
History flicked a few pages and at that time began the Indo-China war in 1962. The name of Chini village now entered the official documents quite often than ever before. The word Chini means Chinese in Hindi and hence prompted an obvious debate. In no time it was decided that the village will no longer be called Chini fearing the Chinese intentions of acquiring the border villages of the region, People feared that this linguistic choice might just give them some ideas. Overnight Chini village acquired the identity of Kalpa and the people of the village who were patriots had no issues to abide by the rule. Those days are over and Kalpa makes a living out of apple orchards and tourism.
In 2018 Chini Bungalow is the last remaining trace of the time when this little village around the Narayan-Nagini Temple temple was known by its erstwhile name. The changing times have made Thheku a storyteller and these scoops from the past add to the enigma of this surreal little town now known as Kalpa.
There’s a monastery in kalpa, which is reputed to be a century old.
I asked a couple of men at the monastery about the procession and they told me it was of “Lord Brahma Vishnu”. It was striking since Brahma and Vishnu are two different gods, two of the highest in the Hindu pantheon who make the Holy Trinity along with Shiva.
I felt the musical instruments used in the procession had striking similarities with those used by Tibetan Buddhists. But the two men denied it vehemently. “These instruments are all local. There’s no outside influence,” said one.
About 3km from Kalpa is Kothi, I could not visit there because of trek walk to roghi took enough time. It has a temple dedicated to Goddess Chandika. Few venture there, but it’s certainly worth a visit if you have the time.
Roghi – “Sucide Point”
In between, Kalpa and Roghi, lies the infamous Suicide Point of Kalpa, the stretch of the road is really dangerous. Roghi is a village which is about 5 km from Kalpa. I parked thheku’s bike in the hotel and decided to walk to Roghi solo as I had ample amount of time.
After starting the playlist of songs from the movie “Highway”, I started the trek walk towards Roghi and the song that still gives me those vibes:
Toota.. taara sa
Chota sa, taara sa..toota re..
Poochhe woh dekhun teri baari
Kyun na soye, kyun tu roye
Kyun tu khoye yun pardes mein ho..
Kyun tu rootha, kis’se rootha
Kya hai chhoota tera des mein ho..
Jo bhi hai rookha-sookha
Mann mein woh bolo toh
Kholo raahein baaton ki, baahein ho..
In this part of Himachal Pradesh, the beauty lies in the landscapes and you have to go really slow, wait at every turn and engulf the beauty in it. Along the road to Roghi, you will find huge deodar trees and the fresh fragrance of pines soothing you. The road to Roghi is more beautiful than Roghi itself. I headed back to Reckong Peo after the sunset.
As the sun went down, the snow-covered peaks started turning in to a reddish orange hue shrouded with orange clouds that created an impression of burning mountain peaks. I spent the night lazing around and watching tv after having my delicious dinner at my hotel.
It is still an unknown destination to travelers and it is not as crowded as other places. It is perfect if you just want to relax in the lap of nature.
It was my last night at Kalpa as I had to start my journey to our workplace in Spiti, Where I am going to be spitified! But Kalpa had given me more than what I had expected and I knew it’s magic was not something to fade away easily.
How to Reach Kalpa:
Delhi – Shimla – Narkanda –
Reckong Peo – Kalpa
Distance Covered -> 570 Kms
Time Taken –
Delhi to Shimla (345 Km) – 7 Hrs
Shimla to Kalpa (225 Km) – 7 Hrs
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